Optimizing Cloud and Data Center Strategies

A Conceptual vision of a Datacenter on the cloud (Cloud Computing)

Even Smart Technologists are Not Always Optimizing Their Cloud and Data Center Strategies.

A very smart infrastructure pro was engaged in a conversation with an accomplished technologist, talking current projects and priorities. The infrastructure specialist referenced a division of a major enterprise client that the his group was helping to unwind from Amazon Web Services (AWS), making them far less dependent on the cloud giant.

The technologist, a generalist, was aghast. “Everyone’s trying to get everything into AWS. Why would you ever leave?” he asked.

The infrastructure pro made a very strong case that for all their strengths, AWS simply wasn’t the best solution in this instance, for a variety of reasons, including:

  • A lack of AWS infrastructure specialists on their team.
  • Applications that weren’t a good match for AWS infrastructure.
  • Service needs that didn’t match the AWS pricing structure, rendering the solution uneconomical.
  • His discomfort with AWS’ secrecy about their security policies, understandable given the size of the target on their back but difficult to swallow for some end users with significant security and compliance concerns.
  • Most importantly, a lack of control, with no way of knowing precisely where their data was at any one time, something the client needed to know at all times.

The technologist agreed with several of these points, yet after expressing that understanding of the shortcomings declared, “but you’ve got to use them.  With AWS you can fire up 10,000 instances at once.”

Even as he agreed with the analysis of the limits of economy, performance, security, and control,  the technologist was amazed that someone would do without that one element of AWS that cannot be replicated anywhere.

Indeed, there are some applications and test dev situations where a massive amount of instances would be required.  But the infrastructure pro and his firm are retaining a more limited relationship with AWS for those “10,000 instances” occasions as part of a blended/hybrid solution.

This conversation illustrates that even accomplished technologists see their cloud solution as an all-or-nothing, or at least are not ready to handle the complexity of multiple technologies and a variety of solutions providers.

In reality, combined service options abound.   Solutions blending colocation and multiple cloud providers geared to the specific requirements of different applications are easier than ever to implement, and more badly needed.  These multi-vendor solutions may be the biggest trend in cloud computing, and will continue to become more common as the knowledge of modern infrastructure strategy catches up to the available technology.